Become an Entrepreneur for the Right Reason
By: Sean Dowdell
One of the most common misconceptions that is vocalized to me, (usually while conversing with people regarding starting their own business), is the concept that owning their own business is going to be less work than working for someone else. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a matter of fact when this I said to me (and believe me, it is said quite often), I try as hard as I can to talk them out of opening their own business. I tell them very straight forward “Don’t do it, you may not have what it takes to become a business owner with that mindset”. Sometimes that statement can be hurtful. While I certainly don’t want to ever discourage someone’s dreams, I must give my honest feedback and advice.
Many people are disillusioned with the freedom they see from entrepreneurs but fail to see the many hours of hard work that that individual put in, in order to achieve that level of freedom. Furthermore, every successful entrepreneur that I have ever had the pleasure of doing business or speaking with never dreamed about the freedom that comes with being successful. They dreamt instead of creating something special, something different and something great.
At least in my case I can say that unequivocally. I never chased a dream of freedom, vacations, or money. My only mission when starting my company was to pursue greatness. I never even thought about making money or becoming rich. In fact, the only thoughts about money were in cases of paying bills, buying equipment, inventory, and expanding the company. It wasn’t until I had been in business for well over 15 years and had an established record of grooming my businesses for success that I even approached and gave any sort of attention to the subject of money. Once I realized I actually had money it was an entirely new responsibility that I had to learn to respect.
This principle is imperative to understand when opening your own business. If your mind is wandering about the stuff you are going to buy or the vacations you want to take once you make it rich, my feelings are that you have already lost the key ingredient for success. Very few entrepreneurs ever make it to the super successful stage of business ownership, and those that have are the hardest working individuals you will ever come across. They are often accused of being obsessed, one track minded, and in love with their own businesses. In most cases those accusations are true and unfortunately they are necessary for those individuals to become as successful as they have.
Without the passion that drives most entrepreneurs they couldn’t have gotten through the rough times that every entrepreneur will eventually and must encounter. Most of us have hit low spots or been overcome with failures that at the time didn’t seem like they could be overcome. It is the passion and desire of the true entrepreneur that has gotten those people through the rough times. It was those rough times and failures that were the driving forces that caused the successful entrepreneurs to rise above and over time, become great success stories.
When I started my company in 1995 (Club Tattoo), I started out naïve as do most business owners but I had a work ethic that pushed me through. It took me a couple years and lots of failures to realize that without my work ethic, passion and drive, the business would have failed long ago.
These qualities that were sewn into the fabric of our business model were our saving grace and it got us through tough times and without a doubt, kept us from throwing in the towel when failure loomed over the company. I also believe that because of our thought process “failure wasn’t an option and I knew that if we quit we would lose everything”, we were faced with the truth of working harder was the only thing that was going to make our business work and succeed.
Make absolutely sure that before you start a business that you have passion and even an obsession for whatever it is you are thinking about starting. After you have established that, then workout your business plan; not the other way around. Don’t go into business half-hearted and think you are going to succeed. It will be too easy to quit, make excuses, and watch it fail. Your new business will take every ounce of energy that you have and more. When you come to this realization and understand the true concept of entrepreneurialism and what makes it work, it will come as no surprise that we are the only ones crazy enough to work 80 hours a week for ourselves so that we don’t have to work 40 hours a week for someone else!